Everyone should have sufficient wealth to give them and their families the opportunities to make the most of their potential, as well as to enjoy a decent standard of living and the security of knowing that they will be able to meet their future needs.
Fairness and wealth
We are focusing on wealth rather than income, because wealth inequality is both more important and more extreme than income inequality in the UK. Wealth includes housing wealth and investments, and is itself a source of (unearned) income for some people, as well as earned income from employment or other work. Wealth has a huge bearing on life chances and standard of living. For example, whether a young person can afford to buy a house is more linked to their (or their parents’) wealth than to their level of income.
We cannot achieve a fair society, based on genuine equality of opportunity for everyone regardless of their background and characteristics, without reducing wealth inequality. Unequal outcomes in one generation lead to unequal opportunities in the next, because wealthy parents can pass on their advantages to their children in a variety of ways, including through inherited wealth as well as access to a better education. High levels of economic inequality also undermine social mobility.
A fair society therefore needs to reduce excessive levels of wealth inequality, recognising that much of it results from unfair inequalities of opportunity and that allowing it to continue will prevent the achievement of genuine equality of opportunity, while accepting that some level of wealth inequality is fair insofar as it reflects differences in talent and effort. A lower level of wealth inequality will also help to create a society in which everyone enjoys a broader ‘equality of condition’ in which their social status and standing as a citizen is not dictated by their wealth.
When the rate of return on capital exceeds the rate of growth of output and income, as it did in the nineteenth century and seems quite likely to do again in the twenty-first, capitalism automatically generates arbitrary and unsustainable inequalities that radically undermine the meritocratic values on which democratic societies are based.
Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Benefits of more equal societies
Fairer and more equal societies benefit everyone, not just those at the bottom. We know that social outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal countries than in less unequal countries. The UK, with its higher-than-average level of economic inequality compared to most other rich countries, has corresponding worse social outcomes. If the UK was to reduce its level of economic inequality to that of Sweden, it would perform much better on a range of issues such as life expectancy, imprisonment, mental illness and social mobility.
Trends in economic inequality
Income inequality in the UK remains high, while wealth inequality has been growing in recent years and is approaching levels last seen in the early 1900s. Child poverty has also risen back to the levels of 20 years ago. A combination of factors including low wages and insecure work, inadequate benefits, high costs of living and the pressures of the COVID pandemic have pulled increasing numbers of people into poverty in recent years. People in certain groups, including single parents, many women, members of some ethnic minorities and disabled people, have been affected especially strongly.
What needs to change
Tackling wealth inequality – and income inequality, and poverty – depends on making changes in a wide range of areas where the status quo is making a bad situation worse, including welfare, education, housing, health and work. Many people living in poverty suffer from ‘compound unfairness’ in which their life chances are undermined by a lack of opportunities in every area and at every stage of their lives, from their early childhood onwards. The government has both the means and the moral responsibility to ensure that people have decent life chances and to intervene to address hunger and extreme poverty, but there is also a compelling economic and social case for action. A fairer and less unequal society will benefit everyone by making us happier, healthier and safer. Wealth inequality can also be partially tackled by taxing unearned income (from capital growth) at the same rates as earned income (from work), rather than at much lower rates as is the case at the moment; most wealthy people would pay more tax on their unearned income if required to do so.
Because the causes of wealth inequality (and income equality, and poverty) are numerous and span multiple sectors, the solutions are the same. The changes that are needed are therefore either covered under our other focus issues, such as work, social security, taxation, housing and education, or they cover broader economic reforms (such as the promotion of open markets and of inclusive growth).
To illustrate this point, here are some examples of the recommendations of reports on economic inequality and/or poverty over recent years:
- Joseph Rowntree Foundation (UK Poverty 2020/21): more people in good jobs, better earnings for low-income working families, strengthened benefits system, more low-cost housing
- Child Poverty Action Group (Solutions to Poverty): benefits must reflect need and be better administered, action to reduce costs of housing and childcare, end the growing impermanence of paid work
- Institute for Public Policy Research (Prosperity and Justice): give workers greater bargaining power, tax wealth more fairly, widen ownership of capital, promote open markets, rebalance the economy away from over-dependence on the finance sector…
- Social Mobility Commission (State of the nation report 2021): remove the two-child limit in Universal Credit, extend early years childcare, more funds for schoolchildren in long-term poverty, a premium for 16-19-year-old disadvantaged students, greater digital access, three million more social houses
- Women’s Budget Group (Commission on a Gender-Equal Economy): transform paid and unpaid work, invest in social and physical infrastructure, investing in a caring social security system based on dignity and autonomy, transform the tax system…
- Institute for Health Equity (Marmot Review 10 Years On): ensure everyone has a minimum income for healthy living through increases to the National Living Wage
- Health Foundation (Unequal pandemic, fairer recovery): address the root causes of poor health and invest in people and their communities (their jobs, housing, education and communities)
- Compass (Secure and Free): an increased national minimum wage, a major state-supported housebuilding programme, a bigger role for the social sector, provide universal early childhood education and care, provide social security for all rather than welfare for some
- Institute for Fiscal Studies (Why do wealthy parents have wealthy children): improve educational progression and labour market outcomes for those with low-education and low-income parents, [reform inheritance tax]
- OECD (Inheritance Taxation in OECD Countries): Replace estate-based inheritance tax with a recipient-based inheritance tax, based on lifetime wealth transfers rather than taxing each wealth transfer separately and with an exemption for low-value inheritances
Where there is a case for discrete action on economic inequality is to recommit to ending poverty as a national priority, in particular child poverty. The EHRC has recommended that, in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 1.2 (to reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty by 2030), the UK Government should restore the binding targets from the Child Poverty Act 2010 to eradicate child poverty for England, and develop a strategy for achieving them. There is also a case for pressing the government to recognise more fully the extent and negative consequences of wealth inequality, and the need for action to address it.
There are also a few specific policy interventions that could be pursued to address economic inequality and/or poverty, which do not fall under other issues as outlined above. For example:
- The government could reintroduce child trust funds (set up by the Labour government in 2005), which had strong cross-party support but somehow didn't resonate with the public, and were abandoned by the coalition government in the name of austerity with no public outcry
- The government could incentivise and/or legislate for the redesign of particular products and services in areas such as loans, insurance and energy so that they do not impose additional costs on poor consumers, as outlined by Fair by Design
The holding of wealth itself, whether it arises from inheritance or from the owner’s own effort and savings, can confer on the owner benefits of security, independence, influence and power, quite apart from any expenditure which the income from it may finance.
Institute of Fiscal Studies, The Structure and Reform of Direct Taxation, 1978
Wealth and fairness
Wealth inequality is the single most important metric by which equality of outcome is measured and debated. A low level of wealth inequality is a prerequisite to achieving genuine equality of opportunity, as explored below, and is also important for ensuring that everyone receives equal treatment.
This analysis focuses on wealth rather than income as the main metric of economic inequality, although it also looks at income inequality (and its relationship with poverty). There are several reasons to focus on wealth inequality more than income inequality:
- Wealth is far more unequally distributed than income, as Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the 21st Century outlines. Income can be stored as wealth, but wealth begets income. This means that wealth is stockpiled by the rich and inequality gets worse over time. Since the return on capital (wealth) is higher than the rate of economic growth in general, wealth comes to dominate wages as the determinant of how prosperity is shared.
- Wealth has doubled compared to incomes since the 1980s, so it is more important in determining living standards, and in the last decade low earnings growth has hit people of working age while many wealth gains have accrued to older generations. Wealth is a more holistic measure of economic resources than income because it captures intergenerational transfers by which parents pass on economic advantage to their children.
- Inequalities in wealth matter because they affect the opportunities and choices that people have. Some people may have greater access to educational or business opportunities than others because they have inherited more wealth. People with wealth also have more choices available to them (like the option of walking away from a job that they do not like). As the IFS Meade Committee on direct taxation argued in 1978, “the holding of wealth itself, whether it arises from inheritance or from the owner’s own effort and savings, can confer on the owner benefits of security, independence, influence and power, quite apart from any expenditure which the income from it may finance”.
- Statistics on income inequality risk misinterpretation. Although income inequality has fallen by some measures, that doesn’t mean that those at the bottom are doing any better. In fact, people on low pay increasingly find themselves stuck there, unable to ‘escape’.
Very few thinkers have made the case for a society based on equality of outcome, in which everybody holds the same amount of wealth, regardless of their talent or hard work. But economic inequality has reached such a high level in many countries, including the UK, that many argue that reducing it is a priority. For example, The Spirit Level argues that reducing inequality benefits everyone in society by tackling a range of social issues such as physical and mental health, crime, trust and social mobility.
More fundamentally, it is impossible to achieve equality of opportunity without reducing economic equality (particularly wealth inequality). ‘Weak’ meritocracy, which simply tackles the most overt barriers to equality of opportunity (such as racial discrimination) without addressing the underlying disparities in life chances, depends for its legitimacy on promoting the idea of social mobility, by which the brightest and hardest working people are able to 'escape poverty', as some kind of proof that the system works and is just. But achieving social mobility is unachievable without reducing inequality; the ‘Great Gatsby curve’ shows the strong correlation between economic equality and social mobility.
‘Strong’ meritocracy tries to understand and correct for the deep-rooted issues that undermine ‘deep’ equality of opportunity. It understands that wealthier parents can buy a better education for their children, among other advantages, and that unless this is corrected for, meritocracy simply reinforces inequality. However, achieving this is also impossible if there is a high level of economic inequality. Unequal outcomes in one generation will always give rise to some degree of unequal opportunities in the next, no matter how many interventions are put in place to level the playing field (or rather, to compensate for the lack of a level playing field).
A fair society therefore needs to take active steps to reduce excessive levels of wealth inequality, recognising that much of it results from unfair inequalities of opportunity and that allowing it to continue will prevent the achievement of genuine equality of opportunity, while accepting that some level of wealth inequality is fair insofar as it reflects differences in talent and effort. A lower level of wealth inequality will also help to create a society in which everyone enjoys a broader ‘equality of condition’ in which their social status and standing as a citizen is not dictated by their wealth.
Governments have a range of policy tools to tackle wealth inequality. These include the redistribution of income through taxation, in order to fund transfer payments and to provide public services. But they also include the predistribution of income, meaning the setting of laws and policies that determine peoples’ pre-tax incomes, such as the regulation of minimum wages, housing markets and so on. Several ‘redistributive’ and ‘predistributive’ measures are covered in other issue briefings.
While inequality is concerned with the full distribution of wellbeing, poverty is focused on people at the lower end of the income distribution, who fall below a ‘poverty line’. It can be defined in several ways and either in absolute or relative terms. Poverty is often self-reinforcing, as its negative impacts (including inadequate education, health, nutrition, security and employment) prevent people from enjoying equal opportunities to succeed in life compared to their peers, breaking the links between talent and effort on one side and reward on the other. Everyone needs a baseline level of wealth in order to attain basic security and a decent standard of living for them and their family, and lack of wealth in a society with high wealth inequality leads to insecurity as well as a poor quality of life.
Learning from other countries
The Spirit Level shows that for each of eleven different health and social problems (physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and child well-being), outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal rich countries than in less unequal countries. The UK, with its higher-than-average level of economic inequality compared to most other rich countries, has corresponding worse social outcomes. According to this analysis, if the UK was to reduce its level of economic inequality to that of Sweden, for example, it would perform much better on a range of issues such as life expectancy, imprisonment, mental illness and social mobility.
According to the Equality Trust, the UK has a very unequal distribution of income compared to other developed countries, with a Gini coefficient of 0.35. According to 2013 data from 19 OECD member states in the Luxembourg Income Study data set, the UK is the fifth most unequal, and fourth most unequal in Europe. The richest 20% are around seven times richer than the poorest 20% in the UK, whereas this ratio is under 4:1 in more equal countries like Japan, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
The situation today
The House of Commons reported in 2020 that inequality in household incomes in the UK has remained at a roughly similar level since the early 1990s but is higher than during the 1960s and 1970s. While the share of income to the top 1% of individuals by household income increased during the 1990s and 2000s, there was some reduction in inequality among the rest of the population (based on incomes before housing costs), with the result that inequality overall was fairly stable during this period.
However, income equality in the UK has widened in the decade since the financial crisis. ONS figures from 2020 show that the income share of the richest 1% increased from 7% to 8.3% between 2011 and 2020, with income inequality increasing steadily to 36% (although this was lower than the 39% level reached during the 2008 downturn). The IFS showed this year that the COVID pandemic has also led to greater economic hardship for many groups, including some ethnic minorities, while poorer households saw the largest rises in deprivation due to the pandemic.
Leaving aside changes over time, income inequality in the UK remains high. The Equality Trust estimated that in 2018, the majority of households in the UK had disposable incomes below the mean income of £34,200, and that the poorest fifth of society had only 8% of the total income, whereas the top fifth had 40%. It also estimated that since 1980, the share of income earned by the top 1% in the UK had generally been rising, peaking at 13% in 2015, almost double the proportion in Belgium (7%) and higher than Australia (9%), Sweden (8%) and Norway (8%).
Wealth is even more unequally divided than income. It used to be even higher than it is now. Wealth inequality in the UK fell for much of the 20th century, with the proportion of wealth held by the richest 10% falling from more than 90% in the early decades of the century to around 50% by the 1980s. In 2016, the ONS calculated that the richest 10% of households held 44% of all wealth, while the poorest 50% of households held just 9% of wealth.
Wealth inequality has been growing again in the last decade. The Resolution Foundation estimated earlier this year that 5% of the total wealth held by the very richest households has been missed by official measures, and that the top 1% had almost £800bn more wealth than suggested by ONS figures, meaning that 23% of all household wealth in the UK is held by the richest 1% of the population (compared to 18% estimated by the ONS). RF estimated that total wealth inequality is around twice as high as income equality (with Gini coefficients of 0.63 and 0.34 respectively), and noted that 76-93% of wealth gains since the financial crisis have come through passive accumulation (e.g. changes in asset prices) rather than saving.
A subsequent report by the Resolution Foundation estimated that wealth inequality during the COVID pandemic has increased further, with the richest 10% gaining £50,000 on average, and that while wealth had increased during lockdown due to a lack of spending opportunities and rising house prices, the benefits had been skewed to the richest by a ratio of more than 500 to 1, since the poorest households were more likely to have run down rather than increase their savings, and had not shared in the house price boom because they were less likely to own a home in the first place. The gap between wealth for an average household in the top decile and that in the fifth decile increased by 50 per cent (up to around £1.3 million) between 2006-08 and 2016-18, and increased by a further £40,000 during the pandemic. There are a range of other ways in which the pandemic has exacerbated wealth inequality, including:
- IPPR research finding that government interventions are exacerbating structural inequalities in the economy that are insulating creditors and asset-owners from the worst effects of the pandemic while driving many of the most financially vulnerable deeper into debt
- IFS research suggesting that workers whose livelihoods were most at risk during the pandemic already tended to have relatively low incomes, and were relatively likely to be in poverty, prior to the onset of the crisis
- Resolution Foundation research pointing out that for many low-income families the pandemic has been accompanied by falling savings rates and a growing use of high-cost consumer debt
- TUC research finding that over a million children of key workers (one in five) were living in poverty during the pandemic, rising to almost one in three in the north-east of England
- Health Foundation research showing that the chances of dying from COVID were nearly four times higher for working-age adults in the poorest areas than for those in the wealthiest areas
Wealth is also unevenly spread across the UK. According to the Equality Trust, the South East of England is the wealthiest of all regions with median household total wealth of £387,400, over twice the amount of wealth in households in the North West of England (£165,200). However, regional comparisons can often be misleading; an English Atlas of Inequality published in 2019, which looked at income distributions, deprivation ratios and spatial patterns of inequality, found that many of the poorest people do not live in the poorest parts of the country, but also that many places in England that are poor are also more economically equal than, for example, unequal cities like London that are home to large numbers of poor people but also have some of the best outcomes overall. Meanwhile, an excellent ONS data visualisation earlier this year compared regional differences in income and productivity across the UK and found that the areas where people have the highest income are not always those that contribute the most to the economy.
The Social Metrics Commission’s 2020 report on measuring poverty found that 14.4 million people in the UK are living in poverty, of which 4.5 million are children (33% of all children), 8.5 million are working-age adults (22% of all working-age adults) and 1.3 million are pension-age adults (11% of all pension-age adults). It found that, while overall poverty rates have changed little since 2000 (at 22%) and poverty rates for some groups (including pensioners) have fallen, the numbers living in ‘deep poverty’ (more than 50% below the poverty line) has increased from 5% of the population in 2000 to 7% (4.5 million people). Another 11% (7.1 million people) are in ‘persistent poverty’, a similar proportion to 20 years ago. Poverty rates vary widely by region, with the highest rates in London (29%) and the lowest in the South West, South East, and East of England (18%).
The IPPR focused on the increasing poverty among people in work, finding an increase in relative poverty among this group from 13% in 1996 to 17.4% in 2020, driven by a combination of low wages and spiralling living costs (in particular housing and childcare), alongside a social security system that has failed to keep up with rental costs. It highlighted that housing costs for private tenants have jumped by almost 50% above the general rate of inflation over the last 25 years, and that the increase in poverty rates was most acute in London, Wales and the north of England.
The Trussell Trust’s report The State of Hunger revealed the extreme poverty faced by people at food banks going into the pandemic, with just £248 a month on average to survive on after housing costs. That money needs to cover energy and water costs, council tax, food, and other essentials.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s 2020/21 report on UK poverty found that the impact of the COVID pandemic on the poorest in society has been severe, with the brunt of the economic and health impacts born by part-time and low-paid workers, ethnic minority households, lone parents, private and social renters, and people living in areas with already higher levels of unemployment and deprivation. It predicted that the removal of the furlough scheme and of the temporary uplift to universal credit (see welfare briefing) would increase poverty levels significantly.
Being poor also increases the costs that people pay for essential goods and services. The so-called poverty premium means that essentials such as energy, loans and insurance cost the average low income household an extra £490 per year (and at least £780 per year for more than 10% of them). Research commissioned by Fair By Design found that people with certain protected characteristics are more likely to be paying a poverty premium, even when compared with low income households as a whole, suggesting that the UK marketplace is discriminating against groups of people, albeit indirectly.
Economic inequality is particularly pronounced when it comes to ethnic minorities. The EHRC 2018 report Is Britain Fairer? found that Black African, Bangladeshi and Pakistani people are still the most likely to live in poverty and deprivation, despite the fact that, as the Institute for Fiscal Studies points out, poverty rates for people from Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds fell from 61% to 49% prior to 2010 (whereas the relative poverty rate for black people, at 40%, has not changed for decades). The Runnymede Trust estimated that Black African and Bangladeshi households have 10 times less wealth than White households, that levels of savings and assets are significantly lower for all ethnic minority groups than among White households, and that ethnic minority households are disproportionately impacted by the benefit cap, partly due to higher housing costs in England’s large cities (especially London) where these groups are more likely to reside. The Cabinet Office Race Disparity Audit in 2018 noted that 1 in 4 children in Asian households and 1 in 5 children in Black households were in persistent poverty, compared to 1 in 10 children in White households, and that Pakistani and Bangladeshi people were the most likely of all ethnic groups to live in the most deprived neighbourhoods. The Social Metrics Commission’s 2020 report provided similar estimates (while also noting that 80% of those in persistent poverty live in families with a head of household who is White).
Economic inequality also has a class aspect, needless to say. A recent report by Autonomy summarised recent research on class and economics, including the argument that we cannot understand class in the UK today without taking asset ownership into account, rather than simply analysing class membership based on occupation (and income), on the basis that “asset inequalities are first and foremost an issue of class, not age”, and that while income inequality is still important, “a ‘middle class’ job is no longer the gateway to a ‘middle class’ lifestyle”.
Economic inequality also has a disproportionate impact on women. A recent briefing by six women’s organisations on the impact of the pandemic on young women on low incomes found that only one in three furloughed low-income young women had their salary topped up by their employer compared to almost half of their male counterparts, and twice as many low-income young women as men said that the pandemic had made their financial situation worse. The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee published a report on the gendered economic impact of COVID in January 2021 that also found a range of disparities in the impact of the pandemic on men and women. This builds on reams of earlier research, for example from the LSE Commission on Gender, Inequality and Power, on the adverse impact of austerity policies on women. And ethnic minority women suffer the combined disadvantage of the ‘intersectional’ impacts of race and gender. (The gender pay gap is covered in the ‘work’ briefing.)
Disabled people also suffer from economic inequality more than the wider population. The Social Metrics Commission’s 2020 report estimated that half of all people in poverty live in a family that includes a disabled person, with four million people in poverty are themselves disabled and another 3.2 million living in a family that includes someone else who is disabled. As pointed out in the ‘welfare’ briefing, the Trussell Trust found that 62% of working-age people referred to food banks in early 2020 were disabled, and also that 23% of households with a disability lost more than a quarter of their income on repaying debt or loans, compared to 14% of households not affected by disability.
Child poverty is rising, unlike many other forms of poverty in the UK (such as pensioner poverty). The Social Metrics Commission’s 2020 report estimated that poverty rates are highest amongst families with children (26% for couples with children, compared to 11% for couples without children, and 48% for single parents). The Institute for Fiscal Studies pointed out that relative child poverty in 2019–20 was 4 percentage points higher than in 2011–12 (a rise of 700,000 children). The New Policy Institute found that the rise in child poverty over the last six years (back above three million for the first time in 20 years) has all but wiped out all the progress made since the late 1990s, when government action against child poverty began, and that although it took 12 years to reduce child poverty by a million, it has taken only six years to reverse it; child poverty is growing by 150,000 per year, as fast as it did when it rose from around two million in the early 1980s to three and a half million in the early 1990s. A recent report by Loughborough University estimated that child poverty costs Britain £38bn per year. The House of Commons work and pensions select committee has just called for the government to draw up a new cross-departmental plan to tackle child poverty (there has not been one since 2017). Labour has pledged to establish a new child poverty reduction unit inside Number 10.
Wealth inequality also has a strong intergenerational aspect. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown that inheritances will be larger compared with lifetime incomes for younger generations than for their predecessors, and are therefore more important in increasing inequalities between those with richer and poorer parents, reducing social mobility. The unequal distribution of wealth today will flow down to future generations very unevenly, with impacts on living standards today (since people anticipating a future inheritance may decide to save less). The IFS has also investigated why wealthy parents have wealthy children, and found that the persistence of wealth across generations in the UK is comparable to that in the US but greater than that in Scandinavian countries, that those with the wealthiest 20% of parents have six times more wealth than those with the poorest 20 of parents, and that around half of the intergenerational persistence in wealth is not accounted for by the persistence of earnings and education (but is instead related to other factors, such as higher levels of saving, direct transfers of wealth and the resulting ability of wealthy children to get onto the housing ladder sooner). The OECD estimates that the share of inheritances in private wealth may soon return the high levels of the early 1900s, while the Office for Tax Simplification has found that tax reliefs for business and agricultural assets “predominantly benefit the wealthiest households, significantly reducing the effective tax burden on some of the largest estates”. The FT has written about how many young people now feel that the social contract has broken down.
There are of course many different causes of economic inequality, all of which are to some extent inter-related (and most of which link to our other focus issues), including low pay and insecure work, inequality of opportunities to access the best education and jobs, increasingly unaffordable housing, unequal land ownership (with less than 1% of the population owning 50% of the land), an insufficiently progressive and effective tax system, deregulation and the decline of trade unions, the increasing cost of living (including childcare, food and energy), an inadequate and punitive welfare system, structural discrimination on the basis of race, gender, disability, religion and sexuality, increasing returns to wealth rather than labour and the disproportionate economic power of rentiers and the finance industry, the self-reinforcing concentration of wealth in society, and so on.
Public attitudes to economic inequality have been well studied in recent years (much more so than attitudes to other forms of inequality). The IFS Deaton Review of inequality has found that attitudes to inequality depend more on people’s perceptions than on the reality of how unequal society actually is, and that while most people want to see inequalities reduced, they do not always support more government action to address them. People see inequalities caused by merit or effort as fairer than those that arise due to luck, but they divide into two groups on the question of how most inequalities have arisen (individualists, who see outcomes as determined by individual efforts, and structuralists, who believe in systemic structures that create and perpetuate inequalities, as well as a third group who sit somewhere in the middle). The research found that most people were more worried by inequalities between different regions of the country than by other forms of inequality, and that COVID was increasing support for state intervention to tackle inequality, especially if it was not overly framed in terms of redistribution and instead focused on universal solutions and also on helping those in greatest need. (There is a large literature on how best to ‘frame’ poverty and economic inequality so as to maximise public support for change: how to talk about poverty, not talking about poverty, rethinking poverty, framing the economy, talking about poverty, the economy is rigged.)